You're my Density

Just Suppose Harry hadn't heeded his godfather's advice, and actually lost his temper at his trial? Time travel fic and title is 'Back to the Future' joke.


12. The More Things Change

Ron was left wondering what he had done to deserve all this bad luck. His Hogwarts experience had started off so spectacularly too, yet was now turning to one big steaming pile of shit. To make matters even worse, his beloved quidditch had now become an instrument of torture to Ron. You couldn't mention the sport anywhere in Hogwarts without the conversation instantly switching to Gryffindor's amazing last game.

That the boy he'd initiated a censure procedure against was easily the stand-out player of their unbelievable win left the students with the greyed-out house associations even further alienated inside Gryffindor - and a laughing stock amongst the other three houses.

Ron was left delighted that Valentine's Day was almost upon them. Not that he expected anything in the way of cards or gifts from any of the castle's witches. No, it was more to provide a reason for others to think about something or someone else for a while - rather than the Gryffindor five.

However welcome though, Valentine's day would ultimately prove to be nothing more than a brief interlude in this dreadful situation. What Ron needed was a way to endear himself to the rest of Gryffindor House. Otherwise, you didn't need to have any seer in you to predict a resorting in his future come September. The main problems with achieving this aim was that he hadn't a clue how to go about it, and even the calendar was slowly turning against him. Every day that he didn't come up with an idea to keep him in Gryffindor was a day closer to his resorting.

Since no Weasley would ever be sorted into Slytherin, and he was honest enough to admit Ravenclaw was beyond his academic capabilities, that left only Hufflepuff as an alternative house. Ron didn't think his pride would survive being resorted from Gryffindor to Hufflepuff, he really would rather just leave Hogwarts without adding that ignominy to his already dreadful school experience.


Harry also had a couple of reasons to be thankful it was now St Valentine's Day. Unsurprisingly, both of those reasons centred around Hermione. For one, she'd agreed not to mention him playing quidditch against Slytherin next month for all of today. More specifically though, it was playing Gryffindor's new system, a system that put their seeker in a lot more danger of being injured, that had Hermione constantly on his case.

Having never seen a Gryffindor versus Slytherin match, Harry had no idea of just how bad things could get up there - and he wasn't taking her warnings as seriously as she'd clearly hoped he would.

The second reason to be thankful was Hermione herself - or rather what she meant to Harry. This was the first year he would be celebrating this most romantic of days while having a significant other in his life, he wanted the entire day to be perfect for his intended.

Hermione awoke cuddling into Harry, his arms lovingly wrapped around her.

"Good morning, Love. Happy Valentine's Day."

Hermione enjoyed the kiss that followed Harry's greeting. "Mmm… You're lovely and warm to cuddle into, and you even used a breath freshening charm before kissing me good morning. I might have to keep you, Mister Potter."

It was only then Hermione noticed her bedroom was bedecked with dozens of red roses. "Oh Harry, They're beautiful…"

"Considering who they are for, they needed to be…"

"Listen, Harry - I've got no moves - Potter, You're spoiling me. I would have been more than happy with just one…"

"So you want me to cancel the romantic evening meal for two I've got planned? Neville is going to give us the full evening to ourselves, and Dobby knows all your favourite foods…" Hermione kissed him before Harry could say any more.

"Mmm… Remind me to make sure to plan some time into our evening for doing a lot more of that…"

"You mean you haven't already?"

"Oh you better believe 'kissing Hermione' was top of my list of things that I had to arrange time for. I'm just wondering if I can move some time from dancing to increase the portion I've allocated to be spent kissing…"

"With the right music, I'm sure we could sway to the rhythm while kissing at the same time."

"Beautiful, brilliant, and lying here in my arms. How did I ever get so lucky?"

"I'm the lucky one, Harry. I'm also the hungry one. We need to get up for breakfast."

"I had considered arranging breakfast in bed for us but thought that might be tempting fate. McGonagall would have both of us for breakfast if she caught us in bed together." With their last kiss before rising, Harry headed off to get ready to face the day.

The Great Hall was more animated than usual this morning, with owl traffic increased considerably. Hermione was wearing one of her red roses pined to her robes as she and Harry enjoyed breakfast together. A soft yelp of shock had both of them looking across the table at their best friend.

With a blush that turned his face scarlet, Neville was staring at the two owls that were trying to deliver what were obviously Valentine cards to him.

"Two, Neville? My, someone's popular."

Harry was having a chuckle at Hermione's quip, and Neville's embarrassment at receiving two cards. "Rather you than me, mate. I was dreading a queue of owls for the boy-who-lived. You've met my intended, she doesn't share."

Shaking his head, Neville removed both cards from the owls who delivered them. "Since Hermione's your intended, and the entire country knows that, it would have been considered the height of bad manners to send either of you Valentine cards."

Opening the envelopes confirmed Neville's suspicions. "They're from Lavender and Parvati. They keep pushing and I don't know what to do."

A quick glance from Harry to Hermione was all it took for her to understand she should offer their friend some advice. "Neville, I'm sorry you're caught up in this but please don't feel you have to not talk to people because of us. Parvati and Lavender have at least admitted they made a mistake in following the two redheads at the centre of the problem. Thanks also for giving Harry and I the evening to ourselves tonight. Why don't you use that time to sit and talk with the girls? I really don't want to be the only Gryffindor witch in second year so someone has to make the first move towards reconciliation. Seeing the way they're all being treated actually leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Had things worked out differently, it could so easily have been us left in that position…"

"Um, you don't think they'll take the wrong meaning out of me talking to them on Valentine's Day, do you?"

"Neville, they are two lovely young ladies - unless you have your eye on someone else?"

His blush was back as Neville shook his head in answer to Hermione's question.

"Sorry to break this to you, Neville, but those girls will take whatever meaning they want out of you talking to them - no matter what day it is."

Knowing Hermione was, as usual, right, Neville could only groan at what was now lying on the table in front of him.

Harry then had a quick word of warning for their best friend. "Nev, both girls can hardly eat their breakfast for glancing over to see your reaction to their cards."

If nothing else, Neville Longbottom had been raised to be a gentleman. Plastering a smile on his face, he made a show of reading both cards again before carefully putting them in his pocket. Seeing how both girls reacted to that had Hermione smiling too. While she and Harry spent a romantic evening together, Neville was going to begin building bridges that might see their Gryffindor yeargroup eventually heal.


Sometimes Hermione hated being right, and this was certainly one of those occasions. The Slytherins had been brutal throughout the match, with most of their brutality being focused on Harry. He was battered and bruised but actually seemed to be enjoying himself, which just appeared to infuriate the Slytherin team all the more. That, and the fact their arch rivals, Gryffindor, were currently hammering them while three quarters of the school cheered the red and gold on.

While everyone in the Quidditch Stadium was concentrating on Alicia taking the latest penalty - it would put Gryffindor one hundred and fifty points ahead - a Slytherin beater silently flew up behind Harry. As the quaffle sailed through the top hoop, Bole's beater bat whistled through the air on its route to the back of Harry's head.

Some sixth sense had Harry move at the last second, which saved his head, but was not quick enough to avoid being hurt. The bat still connected solidly against Harry, and with more than enough force to shatter his shoulder blade. Hermione's wand was in her hand, thinking she was the only person to witness what had just happened to Harry - she was wrong.

Dumbledore's 'aresto momentum' spell caught Harry just after he was thrown from his broom by the force of the blow. Hermione felt as if she was currently moving faster than her intended, and that was with the young witch having to literally push people out of her way while racing for the stairs. The Gryffindors were slowly stopping celebrating the latest goal as they finally saw their seeker falling from his broom to the ground.

Hermione screamed her loudest from the stand, her voice reverberating right across the now silent pitch, and just in time to stop Fred Weasley's desperate rescue attempt. "DON'T TOUCH HIM!" Fred was trying to grab Harry as he fell, that could actually do more harm than good. She quickly cast a cushioning charm on the patch of the pitch where Harry was going to land.

Finally down the stairs and now racing across the grass, Hermione then quantified her reason for shouting at Fred while speeding toward him. He was now standing protectively over Gryddindor's fallen seeker. "I'm pretty sure that bastard Bole broke his shoulder, hitting him with a beater's bat. That's why I shouted, Fred. You grabbing Harry's arm could have done even more damage. Dumbledore had Harry's fall under control from the second he was knocked off his broom."

Harry was still conscious as she got there and knelt at his side, but pain was written all over his features.

"You were right, love. Shower of dirty bastards…"

The grimace showed just how much pain he was in. Hermione wanted to cast the numbing charm on his shoulder but there were far too many witnesses who would certainly wonder how she knew such advanced magic. She then spotted Dumbledore quickly making his way toward them too. Fred was standing beside Hermione while George was trying to stop Oliver - who'd seen the entire incident while guarding his own set of hoops - from physically ripping Bole's head off.

Albus immediately cast a numbing charm on the boy's shoulder, seeing the pain leave Harry's face was its own reward. He couldn't miss the utter rage being emitted from Harry's intended. Miss Granger had her wand in her hand and probably didn't even realise she hadn't put it away agter casting the cushioning charm. Albus remembered her asking him to attend Harry's quidditch matches, he was beginning to understand that request now. Had she been forced to cast the 'aresto momentum' spell, there would now be a large question mark over her seemingly extraordinary magical abilities. He would have to deal with the perpetrators of this attack on Harry most severely.

Madam Pomfrey pushed past Albus, her focus solely on her newest patient. With all the players now on the ground, Madam Hooch approached the Headmaster.

"I was watching the penalty being taken and didn't see the incident where Mister Potter was injured. Can I assume you saw it, Headmaster?"

"Mister Bole attempted to cave the back of Mister Potter's head in with his beater's bat."

"My bat slipped…" Bole's crass comment had the rest of his team sniggering while their captain now taunted his Gryffindor counterpart.

"Hey Wood, do you concede? You can't win the match without your seeker."

A livid Oliver was in no mood to make any concessions. "Neither can you. Fred, George, when the match restarts - take out their seeker. Do what you have to do - within the rules - but I want him on the ground and unable to continue. Don't worry about anything else, we'll look after ourselves…"

That tactical change from Gryffindor almost started a battle on the pitch, leaving Albus with no other option than to intercede. "Mister Bole, is that your last word on this matter? Just to explain some of the trouble you are currently in. As of right this minute, you are barred from ever playing quidditch at Hogwarts again…"

The Slytherins tried to turn their ire onto the Headmaster but were quickly silenced by a mere look, and Albus wasn't finished yet. "Your 'bat slipped' explanation doesn't satisfy me in the slightest, so shall we see what the D.M.L.E. make of it?"

The headmaster was interrupted by a clearly unhappy Poppy. "Mister Potter's scapula is shattered beyond repair. I'm going to have to vanish the bones and regrow them. If the same blow from that bat had struck his head, Mister Potter would almost certainly have been dead before he hit the ground. The fall alone might have been enough to see us with a fatality here if you hadn't caught him with that spell."

Hearing that diagnosis was like a bucket of iced water being flung over each of those involved in this situation, kicking the seriousness level up by quite a few levels too. Albus pinned the offender with his gaze.

"Well, Mister Bole? Have you anything to add to your previous statement? Bearing in mind, once the D.M.L.E. become involved it will cease to be a matter that can be dealt with by Hogwarts."

All the colour had drained from Bole's features, there was certainly no sniggering from the rest of his teammates this time. "We were told to take Potter out, the harder the better…"

Fred had to physically restrain Hermione from attacking Bole after hearing that. Even although he was bigger and stronger than the first year witch, it was still a close call.

Septima had heard enough. As Heads of House to those playing, she and Minerva had both made their way onto the pitch. "Slytherin concedes the match…" The howls of derision from the members of her house team saw their Head of House quickly slapping them down.

"If you think what happened here today is acceptable behaviour for a member of my house then you are sadly mistaken. Quidditch is a game, not an excuse to settle house vendettas. I will be investigating this matter thoroughly. Should I discover you were all involved, Slytherin will be withdrawing from this year's Quidditch Cup, and requiring an entire new team come September."

Nodding his acceptance of that decision, Albus began issuing orders. "Professor Vector, could you accompany Mister Bole to my office? I shall be there shortly to deal with the matter. Professor McGonagall, would you accompany Mister Potter to the infirmary before joining us in my office to help decide Mister Bole's punishment."

As Harry was gently levitated away, a now barely back under control Hermione at his side, Albus then addressed the stands packed full of spectators. Casting a sonorus charm on himself, his amplified voice passed on the result of their deliberations to the waiting crowd.

"Due to a player's behaviour that bordered on criminal, the Head of Slytherin House has conceded the match to Gryffindor."

There was no protest or even celebration coming from any section of the stands. Bole was being led away while Potter needed levitated to the infirmary. Both teams walked off the pitch with their heads down, neither feeling like the victors. That alone told the story of what had just happened here.

Today would be remembered as the day when quidditch at Hogwarts changed forever. While what happened on the quidditch pitch had always tended to be dealt with by the same rules that governed the sport, they had just witnessed a fundamental change. Dumbledore had just demonstrated that, first and foremost, the players were still Hogwarts students. Therefore their behaviour would always be judged under the school's rule - not anyone else's.

With the shattered bone now vanished, most of Harry's pain left with it. He found it quite disconcerting though to have his arm just flopping about. "Can my bone really be regrown? How long will it take?"

Professor McGonagall was levitating Harry to the infirmary but it was Madam Pomfrey who answered his medical questions. "You'll drink a potion called skele-gro and spend an uncomfortable night in the infirmary. Growing bone back isn't exactly fun. You should be free to leave by tomorrow, providing you take care of that shoulder when I discharge you."

"Don't worry, Madam Pomfrey, I'll make sure he follows whatever instructions you give him to the letter." Hermione's declaration left Harry no wiggle room at all. This time, he would be doing exactly what she told him.

Harry knew he would be in trouble with his intended from the instant that bat hit his shoulder. Him having to spend the night in the infirmary wouldn't help Hermione's ire either. She was walking at his uninjured side and Harry reached for her hand, giving it a squeeze.

"I'm sorry love, you were right. Using those tactics against Slytherin was a bad mistake..."

Taking a deep breath, Hermione tried to centre herself. Harry was lying there in pain, the last thing he needed was to have his head bitten off by her. She attempted to sum up today's situation without any verbal mauling. "Harry, what do you think my parents' reactions would have been if that was the quidditch match they had seen?"

Knowing Dan and Emma, there was only one way they would react to the sheer brutality that had been on display against him today. "They would have withdrawn their daughter from Hogwarts, knowing I would have immediately followed you out the door."

Hermione's anger spilled over as she began to rant. "That was quidditch in name only. The only objective of the entire Slytherin team today was to hurt you, and the penalties Madam Hooch kept giving against them didn't curb their disgusting conduct in the slightest. They wanted the chance to hurt Harry Potter, and knew putting you in the infirmary would also win them the game too. Everyone in the stadium could see what their game plan was, yet no one did anything to stop it."

"Miss Granger, quiddich can be a dangerous sport…"

Her Head of House wasn't injured so Hermione didn't feel the need to hold back this time. "Professor, please don't insult my intelligence. That was nothing more than an organised assault on my intended by seven older Slytherin wizards. Gryffindor were playing quidditch while Slytherin were playing for keeps. My Harry could have been killed, and it would have been passed off as a tragic quidditch accident. What I saw in that stadium was no accident. Thankfully, Professor Dumbledore saw it too."

"Yes, and the Slytherins' behaviour cost them the match…"

"The match? You think I care a jot about the match? Answer me this question, Professor. At any other time, in any other part of Hogwarts, would what those Slytherins were trying to do to Harry have been instantly stopped?"

"Of course it would…"

"And there is your problem. The last war isn't over, Professor. The attack on my parents' house proved that." Hermione cut McGonagall off before she could come back at her. "Our home's security system took pictures of three wizards, in full death eater regalia, as they attacked our muggle house. Professor Dumbledore told us those pictures were useless in a magical court, even though one of the attackers is clearly identifiable. The Slytherins took that war to the boy-who-lived today, and the entire staff of Hogwarts sat there and watched them doing so. You heard Madam Pomfrey's assessment of how bad it could have been, or very nearly was. Do you disagree with her? That match should have been stopped long before it got to that stage."

Harry then chipped into the conversation, aware Hermione's anger had her sailing close to the edge of what would be considered acceptable behaviour by their Head of House. "In football, our main sport, a bad foul gets the player awarded a yellow card by the referee. Committing a really bad foul draws a red card - an immediate sending off and suspension from at least the next match. Receive two yellow cards in the same match and they also count as a red - you're off and suspended too. Slytherin would have been down to just their keeper today, that's how bad they were."

The young couple discovered they had a supporter for that idea in the Hogwarts healer. "Anything that cuts down on the students being injured gets my vote. Their safety is our responsibility after all. Quidditch can be a dangerous sport, and yes, accidents can and will happen. Today though was no accident. It was a premeditated attack on Mister Potter. A system like that might have stopped today's fiasco from happening."

"But what about our traditions?"

They had just entered the castle and Hermione actually stopped to stare at her Head of House, not quite believing what she had just heard. "I just watched seven pureblood use your traditions to legally beat the snot out of my intended. Why should Harry and I willingly accept traditions that attempt to make us second class citizens in comparison to cretins like Bole? In our society, there are actually laws that prevent someone being discriminated against by their sex, creed or colour. What about our traditions, Professor?"

Taking a deep breath, Hermione lowered her hostility level and started walking beside Harry again. "My home was attacked yet the magical courts won't accept our evidence - simply because it's muggle generated. If we take that evidence to our courts, where it most certainly will be accepted and acted upon, the magical courts would have us up for breeching the Statute of Secrecy. It's today's situation all over again, Professor. They make the rules and know exactly how to break them. Are we just supposed to stand back and take the blows? I've always felt that offering someone your other cheek just leaves you with both sides of your face slapped."

Minerva so wanted to refute this first year witch's conclusions but was left trying to defend a system she herself didn't really support. "I can sympathise with your arguments, especially since you don't know most of our traditions - or how they came to be. It's something I've long fought for and am pleased to say we can at least address part of that shortly. Madam Longbottom, Neville's Grandmother, is going to be in Hogwarts and offering classes on wizarding traditions and our culture. It's hoped this can forge closer links for those students who don't have a magical background."

A determined Hermione nodded her acceptance of that. "Harry and I will be there, Professor. First rule of war - know thy enemy."

"Miss Granger! Do you think we're your enemy?"

"They went after the muggle born before. I don't see them changing that tactic - do you? As Harry's muggle born intended, I'll be near the top of their hit list. The fact my home has already been attacked should surely answer that question."

Knowing Hermione was close to losing it, and ready to go toe-to-toe with anyone, Harry squeezed her hand in support and attempted to defuse the situation. "Yes we are a wizard and witch but not all countries in the world are as backward looking as magical Britain. We're looking for somewhere where we won't be judged on who our parents are, rather concentrating instead on taking the time to discover who we are. We've committed to Hogwarts until the end of term, no further. I think Hermione and I will definitely be discussing the situation with our families over the summer."

Hermione squeezing his hand let Harry know he got it right, and again McGonagall was left without an answer. They barely made the infirmary when she left for Dumbledore's office. Both teens would like to have been a fly on the wall at that meeting.


Emma was also wishing she could be a fly on a certain wall in Privet Drive as she told Dan how her afternoon tea meeting had gone.

"Petunia told me her husband and son were digging their heels in over Harry and Hermione staying with them over the summer. They seemed to be prepared to put up with Harry for ten days to gain the protection. I got the impression they didn't want Hermione there to witness how they treat Harry. Petunia could have done with something stronger than tea after I told her our house had been attacked by wizards."

This drew a chuckle out of Dan. "I'll bet she changed her mind after hearing that. There's no way Hermione will let Harry go there for ten days without her."

"You know, I actually think she was jealous we got to see Hogwarts, and spend the weekend inside the castle. Petunia just kept repeating she didn't think that was possible for normal people. Like you, I know there's no chance those two will be apart for ten days - they wouldn't last ten hours. Petunia was heading home to convince the men in her life that they need both Harry and Hermione staying there over the summer. It's the only way they'll be protected from an attack."

Dobby popping into the lounge was a welcome sight, that was until they saw he was in a state of some distress. Hearing that Harry was currently in the infirmary shared that distress around, Emma now had tears in her eyes too. Hermione's quickly scribbled note, explaining that Harry would be back to normal tomorrow, eased a fair bit of their worries. Dobby saying he would be popping back to Hogwarts later to check on them was the only reason any of the trio were able to face dinner.


Harry's bed in the infirmary had people gathered around it all day. The entire quidditch team turned up to see how he was, staying awhile to chat. They had no sooner left when Neville arrived, with a very nervous Parvati and Lavender in tow. They too all stayed to chat. Though pleased to see the gradual rebuilding of relationships within Gryffindor, between all the visitors and the perpetually hovering Madam Pomfrey, Harry and Hermione never got a moment's privacy to discuss anything.

When Harry started flagging, due to his injuries and the potions, Madam Pomfrey chased everyone not a patient out of her domain.

Due to the pain in his shoulder from having to regrow his shoulder blade, Harry spent a restless evening. Sleep was fitful at best though hearing a slight pop had him instantly wide awake. Dobby had popped Hermione to him. She climbed in beside her intended, on Harry's uninjured side, while awaiting the nod from Dobby that he had his wards up before speaking.

With the okay from their little friend, both spoke the same words at the same time. "I'm sorry about today…"

Seeing Hermione smile at that, Harry gently kissed her before speaking again. "Let me go first, love. I'm sorry for not listening to your warnings, and then making you sit through that. I've been lying here trying to imagine how I would feel, left sitting helpless and having to watch you get physically beaten. You must be stronger than me because I don't think - hell I know I couldn't do that."

She kissed her intended to show he was forgiven, now it was her turn. "I'm sorry for going off at you today, Harry. You're right, sitting watching that was torture. We went to all this trouble to come back and save you, then you were almost killed at a stupid quidditch game. I just totally lost it."

Harry kissed her before confessing. "I feel like a bit of a fraud. You see, there is nothing you need forgiving for - not from me anyway."

Hermione blushed as she had a confession of her own to make. "After dinner, and knowing I couldn't get back in to see you, I visited Professor McGonagall. I tried to apologise but she too wouldn't let me. We had a nice cup of tea and a bit of shortbread while discussing what happened after she left us. She, like everyone else, had been watching the penalty being taken. Professor Dumbledore used his pensieve to show his memory of the event to both Heads of House and Bole. After seeing Dumbledore's memory, McGonagall said she perfectly understood my anger, knowing I would be watching you as it happened."

Snuggling in to Harry's good side, Hermione told him what else she'd learned. "After seeing that memory, and having Dumbledore, McGonagall and Vector all glaring at him, Bole spilled everything he knew. It turns out Draco had originally offered a hundred galleons to whoever put you in the infirmary…"

Dobby's silencing charms were tested as Harry let out a rather loud 'WHAT!'

A grinning Hermione told him there was more to come. "Apparently, when Draco sent home for the galleons, his parents went ballistic at the little shit. Not only was Draco ordered to withdraw that offer at once, he was also told in no uncertain terms to stay the hell away from both of us."

"It would seem the Malfoys are taking our warning seriously."

"Let's just say Draco isn't 'Mister Popular' in Slytherin, or at home. The Slytherins though didn't need the promise of gold to want to put you in the infirmary. All seven of the players were involved in the plot and Professor Vector has kicked every single one of them off the team. They've conceded the last match too, throwing this year's quidditch cup into disarray. A solution has been proposed and Professor McGonagall told me about it earlier tonight. The two best teams this year are clearly us and Hufflepuff. A 'winner take all' game has been proposed as the last game of the season…"

"Hermione, I won't play. I can't put you through that again…"

"Harry, if there's one team in Hogwarts that will play quidditch fairly then it's Hufflepuff. Professor McGonagall also admitted Slytherin have been using tactics like that for years - since Snape became their Head of House. They would bully the opposition team into submission, using every dirty trick they could get away with. Quidditch in Hogwarts changed today - because of you."

She then explained that reasoning to her dumbfounded boyfriend. "Dumbledore stepped in and took action. Bole's parents were called to Hogwarts, shown that memory before leaving with their son. He's been expelled from Hogwarts. If you hadn't been playing, and if I didn't ask him to attend your games, Dumbledore probably wouldn't even have been at today's match - far less be properly motivated into taking action. I'll be fine watching you play Hufflepuff, we might even wangle another visit for my mum and dad out of it."

A surprised Harry could only kiss his wonderful intended for that. He had one last thing to ask though. "So, are we okay?"

"Since I'm currently in your bed and kissing you, I reckon that would be its own answer. Don't you think so?"

"Hey, told you I was clueless. I just had to be sure…"

Hermione kissing him again reassured Harry more than words ever would. His shoulder was still painfully throbbing but he now felt so much better.

Seeing that his two favourite people were now fine, Dobby got ready to leave. His alarm wards would give him enough warning if someone was approaching, and he needed to get Hermione back into her own bed. He also had elven wards around the Grangers that would alert him if he was needed there too. Dobby loved his family and was determined to take care of them. With all four of them currently safe though, that gave him a little time to pop over and see how Darla was doing. Dobby told himself it was to find out if Darla had any more news for him, but neither elf really believed that excuse any more.


Having been popped back to her own room before anyone found them in bed together, Hermione then got ready to face the day. Dobby had actually laid clothes out for Harry too, which she placed in her bag to take to the infirmary. Neville was up early as well and both swung by the infirmary to see how Harry was.

After giving Hermione a list of do's and don't's for her intended to follow, while Harry quickly got changed into the clothes he'd been brought, Madam Pomfrey then released him in time for breakfast. The three headed into the Great Hall and their entry was immediately noticed. Cedric Diggory was the first out of his seat and approaching them.

"Have you heard the Quidditch Cup proposal? Will you be able to play?"

"Yeah I heard, and was a bit surprised. Hufflepuff are undefeated this year, surely that wins you the cup?"

"The record books might say we're undefeated but that doesn't tell the whole story. Yes we beat Ravenclaw, fair and square. I fluked catching the snitch against you though and now we have a bye against Slytherin. Hufflepuff really wants to win the Quidditch Cup, but we're not so desperate that we would take it at any cost. We're the two best teams this year and no one will be able to dispute the house that wins this play-off will really have earned the Quidditch Cup."

They had now drawn quite a crowd around them, all clearly waiting to hear what Harry's answer would be. Hermione squeezed his good arm to reassure her intended she was fine with this.

"Cedric, I would shake on it but Madam Pomfrey doesn't want me doing anything with this shoulder for a day or two. I'm banned from writing until tomorrow but will be fine long before we have our rematch."

This actually started some cheering, with Ollie bouncing up and down like a delighted five year old who'd just been given a free pass to their favourite sweet shop. Since their quiddich obsessed captain knew his team now had a great shot at winning the cup, his excitement was at least understandable.

Even with her previous experience of this phenomenon, Hermione still struggled to understand just how important the sport of quidditch was inside Hogwarts. As she sat with Harry and Neville at the now excited Gryffindor table, she tried to make some sense of the reactions all around her.

Gryffindor and Hufflepuff houses were elated, and already looking forward to the match. The Ravenclaws had been beaten by both teams so therefore wouldn't expect to be involved in the fight for the cup. They too though would certainly be anticipating watching a match between the two best teams in Hogwarts this year.

Slytherin currently didn't have a quidditch team, and just had one of their house expelled - the first student expelled for fifty years. While visibly they had nothing to celebrate, there was the beginnings of a subtile shift in attitude amongst the students wearing the silver and green.

Professor Vector had wrought the changes and laid down her marker. She wanted a quidditch team that played the sport with skill and enthusiasm, not bruisers out to beat the opposition into submission. This opened the door for everyone in the house to try out for quidditch, with their Head of House promising it would be ability rather than influence that would win spots on the new team. Even though they would be hoping for a Hufflepuff victory in the play-off, they would still be looking forward to watching a good match.

The timing of the game was perfect too. Traditionally, the last match was just after everyone's exams finished. This match would take the already rearranged slot that would have seen Hufflepuff playing Slytherin.

Hermione was well aware the original schedule had Gryffindor playing Ravenclaw on that date. She was also the only one who knew that, in the original timeline, Gryffindor would have been forced to concede the match. This would be due to Harry lying unconscious in the infirmary after his confrontation with Quirrell/Voldemort. This was again going to be a pivotal event, though Hermione intended to ensure Harry would be fit enough to make the match this time around.

Before that however, they had these new lessons with Madam Longbottom to look forward to. There was also the problem of a rather large fire-breathing lizard about to be hatched in their friend's hut that would need to be dealt with. While Hermione really liked Harry's idea of letting someone else deal with Hagrid's baby dragon, she had eventually spotted a potential problem with that solution.

Talking it over with Harry, both had rather reluctantly come to the conclusion that his original idea could cause them unforeseen troubles. Should Dumbledore discover Hagrid had hatched a dragon's egg, the headmaster was bound to ask their large friend how he came to possess such a heavily regulated and restricted item. Within moments, Dumbledore would learn Voldemort had used the lure of a dragon's egg to garner the information he was missing. Namely, how to get past Fluffy.

Having that knowledge, it was debatable if Dumbledore would answer the false summons from the ministry when it arrived that first Thursday in June. Since Hermione and Harry had so much riding on that night, this was a chance they really couldn't take. If everything went to their plan, Dan and Emma Granger might have some special company sitting watching Harry play agains Hufflepuff.

The match might be a little too much and just a tad too soon for a certain Azkaban prisoner but simply having Sirius meet Harry, and her parents, would be enough for Hermione. Her Harry had never met his godfather, Sirius Black was currently just a name to him. Hermione had known the wizard though, she also knew Sirius loved Harry almost as much as she did. It had really hurt to leave Sirius in that hellhole even a day longer than they had to.

Like everything else in their lives though, they had to protect the fact that they had knowledge of the future. This was the earliest she and Harry could not only get Sirius out of Azkaban, they wanted him to officially have his freedom too. For that to happen, they needed circumstances to play out as they had so carefully planned. If that meant they had to deal with a heartbroken half giant and smuggling a baby dragon out of Hogwarts, so be it.

As she was eating her breakfast, Hermione started to smile. This wasn't so much in consideration of what they faced in the near future. It was more that, in all of those thoughts, she hadn't wasted a single moment worrying about the upcoming end of year exams. Although she had been working Harry hard, and was extremely confident both of them would breeze right through any first year test - her twelve year old self had already done so the first time around - for Hermione Granger not to be worrying about imminent exams was a really, really strange feeling.

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